SCRIPTURE READING — LUKE 2:22-24
2 Corinthians 8:9 — For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich.
According to the apostle Paul, Jesus had a lot of money and He was very rich. Of course. After all, He was God Himself. It is not that God has a huge bank account or that He lives on a private island, though such things would be nice. So it is possible that Paul had another meaning in mind when he used the word “rich.” And when He says that Jesus became poor, does it indicate that Jesus became poor in a manner that is not conventional or typical?
Luke recounts an occasion when the Holy Family travelled to Jerusalem. Jesus had almost six weeks under His belt. It was time for Mary to present two postpartum offerings at the temple after she gave birth to Jesus. Lamb and pigeon were the traditional sacrifices presented to God (or maybe a dove). But Mary did not bring a lamb; she brought “a pair of doves or two baby pigeons,” which was perfectly alright since there was a specific exception for low-income households who could not afford a lamb. Therefore, it seems likely that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived in poverty in the traditional sense.
I am curious to know what Jesus took from it. I am curious as to what it was like for Him to grow up in a poor family.
Food insecurity is a common consequence of living in poverty and frequently goes hand in hand with it. There are a lot of people that go to bed hungry. Maybe you do. Did Jesus ever experience the type of hunger that comes from not having enough food to eat, the kind of hunger that results from being poor? Is it because He knew from personal experience that hunger was always just around the corner that he taught his followers to pray for “daily bread”? I wonder.
Lord Jesus, you are familiar with the struggles of living in poverty and being hungry. You are aware of something that some of us know rather well, but that the majority of us can only speculate on. It is no surprise that we are yearning for your presence. Amen.